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UPDATED: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for Festive Period (issued:26/11/20)

The Scottish Government has published its guidance on restriction relaxations between 23rd and 27th December.  The guidance stipulates that Christmas bubbles (no more than three households) should be kept to a maximum of eight people (children under 12 are exempt from the rules); those bubbles are not allowed to visit restaurants, bars or tourist accommodation.

During the Christmas period those who are part of a bubble should not stay in tourist accommodation.  Only those not part of a bubble should plan on staying in tourist accommodation and should follow the tourist accommodation, socialising and travel rules in the local authority area you are staying. For example:

  • you should only stay with your own household (or extended household) in self-catering accommodation
  • you must not travel into or out of a level 3 or 4 area for tourist accommodation

Those who have formed a bubble should only socialise in a hospitality, leisure or entertainment venue in your own household (or extended household) for the duration of the festive period.

Socialising and opening hours for pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are as per the local authority protection levels that the venue is situated in.

Christmas bubbles can only gather in a private home, outdoors or at a place of worship.

See the Scottish Government’s guidance on travel and transport .

See the UK Government’s guidance on Making a Christmas Bubble with Family and Friends. This states that “You can stay in private rented accommodation with members of your household, or your Christmas bubble”.

We are seeking urgent clarification on this updated guidance and will provide more details as soon as possible:

The Scottish Government seem to have completely changed the definition from self-catering which was previously (from 24th September) defined as a private dwelling, therefore limited to one household and not able to utilise the 6/2 rule.  Now, despite relaxation of rules for 5 days over Christmas, allowing an 8/3 people to households ratio, the definition has now changed and self-catering accommodation is no longer a private dwelling.  There must be some consistency if the regulations and Scottish Government guidance are to be taken seriously by our members, the hospitality sector and the public in general.

Response from the Scottish Government 26th November: “I’ve been in touch with a few colleagues regarding your queries about self-catering accommodation over the festive period.  I’m afraid with tomorrow being a public holiday, we won’t be able to provide a full and considered response until early next week.  This is because the festive guidance and advice on social bubbles etc. has been guided by clinical and public health advisers and we will need their expert input and feedback. I know that you were (understandably) keen to provide an update to your members prior to the weekend and am sorry not to be able to assist within these timescales.  We’ll be following this up as a matter of urgency early next week however.”

Scottish Government Updated Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for Festive Period (issued:26/11/20)




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